Turkey condemned for violating Ezidikhan sovereignty in deadly air strike

Turkish war planes struck YBS-held areas of Shingal on August 15, killing local PKK head Zeki Şengali .
Turkish war planes struck YBS-held areas of Shingal on August 15, killing local PKK head Zeki Şengali .

[Shingal, Ezidikhan, Iraq, 19 August] The Turkish government has carried out a bombing attack inside Ezidikhan territory on Wednesday (15 August), killing the Yezidi leader Zeki Şengali (İsmail Özden) of the Kurdish Communities Union.

Turkish collaborators on the ground apparently aided in Şengali’s assassination. Four YBS fighters were also killed and Haval Mazlum, the general commander of YBS in Shingal was wounded. Latest reports from nearby Snoni indicate that at least seventeen Yezidis died in the Turkish air attack of August 15.

In addition the cousin of Ezidikhan Deputy Prime Minister Barjis Soso Khalaf was also killed and her home destroyed. This attack follows another attack in March by Turkey aimed at KCK leaders and other Yezidis in Afrin.

The Government of Ezidikhan has condemned the Turkish government’s killings of Yezidi and Kurdish people as a flagrant violation of international law and Ezidikhan’s sovereign territory. Foreign Minister Barjo Tamoyan is seeking action by the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General Adama Dieng for UN Security Council sanctions against Turkey to protect the indigenous peoples of Ezidikhan. Ezidikhan Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo has called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to condemn Turkey’s illegal acts against the Yezidi.

The attack occurred as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was on an official trip to Turkey last week while some Iraqi officials described the attack as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

“It is a disrespect to Iraq when Turkey crosses our border at the same time as the Iraqi prime minister was visiting them,” said Dawid Shex Jundy, a member of Nineveh Provincial Council.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a day earlier of the attack had visited Erdogan in Ankara. The Turkish President’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, said the air assault on Shingal “could be considered in the framework” Abadi and Erdogan had agreed on regarding the country’s decades-long conflict with the PKK.

Yezidi and Kurdish fighters led by Ismail Özden were instrumental in liberating Shingal from Islamic State (ISIS) militants in 2014.  Özden helped hundreds of Yezidis flee ISIS to Syria, where the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) hosted them.

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